Nigerian honey beans is very delicious and easy to cook
Nigerian beans porridge is one of my favourite Nigerian foods to cook, but it has not always been like that. Back when I was a kid, beans was one of the meals I dreaded taking to school for lunch. This was because as kids, we always think beans is a ‘’poor man’s food’’ and kids don’t want to be seen as poor. Whenever my mum cooked beans as my lunch for school, I would either pretend to forget it at home or not bring it out during lunch break, so I won’t be mocked by my classmates. As funny as it sounds, this belief was common among kids, so I’d rather go hungry than eat beans in school. These days, I barely go a week without eating beans and I will proudly take it to work for lunch.
Types of Nigerian beans
Beans in general belongs to the family of crops referred to as legumes. There are many kinds of beans around the world, differing in shapes, sizes, colour and taste; but the type of beans common in Nigeria are the kidney shaped, black eyed and the brown beans. Not all Nigerian beans are brown but the most eaten are the brown beans. The regular brown beans and the honey beans (also called ewa-oloyin in Yoruba language) are the two types of Nigerian brown beans. Ewa oloyi’ literally means “beans naturally coated with honey”, because of its natural sweetness compared to other beans. They both look alike when it’s not cooked, but they definitely taste different after cooking.
Ingredients for cooking Nigerian honey beans porridge
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to cook any types of Nigerian beans. To cook Nigerian honey beans, you only need five ingredients aside the beans.
Honey beans: Honey beans comes with natural sweetness, that is why it is my go-to beans for beans porridge. Ewa oloyin (Honey beans) does not need too much seasoning which means you can enjoy the natural taste by adding just salt and it will still taste nice.
Grounded pepper: Grounded pepper also referred to ‘’Ata Gigun’’ in Yoruba language is a smoothly ground spicy pepper used for cooking Nigerian meals. Ata Gigun mixed with other spices is also used for making Nigerian suya and other Nigerian delicacies. In the absence of Nigerian grounded pepper, you can use chopped jalapeno or chilli peppers.
Palm Oil: Palm oil also referred to as palm kernel oil, is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp of the fruit of the oil palms. The red-looking oil is a common ingredient used in cooking Nigerian beans and soups. Usually I wouldn’t substitute palm oil for any other type of oil when cooking Nigerian beans porridge. It is mostly available in farm shops, Nigerian shops and big supermarkets outside Nigeria.
Onion: Onion is an important ingredient when cooking Nigerian beans, but the good thing is that you can use any type of onion. The flavour gives the beans a unique aroma and adds to its deliciousness.
Stock Cube: You can use any type of stock cube, but my favourite and most used is the Knorr stock cubes. For honey beans, you can cook it with little or no stock cubes, and chicken broth can also be subbed for stock cubes.
Salt: You can use regular cooking salt or sea salt. If you’re using sea salt, make sure it is smoothly grounded so it’s easier to measure.
What can you add to Nigerian beans porridge?
It is not uncommon for Nigerian beans to be garnished with various ingredients. You can add stock fish, mackerel, vegetables, shrimps and plantain in your own twist; for me, I just like mine simple and served with bread or fried plantain.
What can you serve with Nigerian beans?
Nigerian beans porridge is best served with Agege bread (a type of Nigerian bread) or any type of bread. Asides bread, fried plantain and boiled yam is also a popular combo and it tastes just perfect. It can also be served as a side with rice or eaten with casava flakes (AKA Garri.)
How to cook Nigerian honey beans
There is little preparation needed when cooking Nigerian beans porridge other than chopping the onion. However, Nigerian beans requires a lot of water to cook so you might want to make sure that is readily available. Here is my Nigerian home beans porridge recipe below.
- Place saucepan on hob and add 400mls of water and bring to boil.
- While the water is coming to boil, wash 300grams of Nigerian honey beans under cold water and toss into the hot water.
- Add half of the chopped onion and cover the saucepan. More often than not, the water will boil over so you may want to cover the pan with half the lid or leave it uncovered completely so the steam can escape.
- Cook for 40mins. Keep checking the beans and add more water when needed. It takes about 2litres of water to cook the 300g of Nigerian beans but be careful not to add too much water at a time. It takes about 40-50mins for the beans to get properly soft and it should look like the this:
- Add the other half of chopped onion, 1 ½ teaspoon of Nigerian grounded pepper or 1 chopped chilli pepper, 75mls of palm oil, 1 Knorr stock cube and 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Add 100mls of water, stir together gently (If you already added too much water, just stir without adding extra water) and simmer for 15min on low heat.
- Serve with bread or fried plantain!
Utensils and tools
Frequently asked questions about
Why is Nigerian beans porridge watery?
Excess water in Nigerian beans porridge is simply caused by adding too much water than needed when the beans is already soft. To fix this, just ladle the excess water out using a spoon and cover to simmer for 10mins. If you have finished cooking the beans with too much water, ladle it out and stir together before serving.
Can you freeze Nigerian porridge beans?
You can preserve Nigerian beans porridge by refrigerating or freezing it. If you don’t plan to eat the beans straight away, let it cool down and store in a lidded plastic container and chill in the coldest part of the fridge. When you’re ready, microwave for about 4mins before serving. You can freeze Nigerian beans for up to 3months, the longer it’s frozen the more it loses taste and aroma. To eat frozen beans, bring it out and thaw before microwaving for 4-5mins.
Why is Nigerian beans taking long to cook?
Nigerian beans are very hard and needs a lot of water to soften. Nigerian beans take about 40-50mins to cook before adding palm oil and spices. If the beans is not soft enough before adding palm oil and spices, it will still feel hard and won’t taste nice.
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